FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PIFF SUPPORTS TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANY TECHNOLOGY,
URGES LEGISLATURE TO CLARIFY INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 17, 2015 – Transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft represent a promising technology that has arrived and can serve consumers well in the future, but Florida legislators should clarify the insurance requirements for these services in state law in order to adequately protect both drivers and passengers, the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) said today.
PIFF issued its position on the “Transportation Network Companies” (TNCs) as the Senate and House take up bills that will address the legal, regulatory and insurance requirements for TNCs, which are an increasingly popular alternative for consumers.
PIFF released a set of guiding principles on insurance coverages that it asked lawmakers to consider as they craft legislation this session. (See attached at bottom of release.)
“TNCs such as Uber and Lyft are transforming the ‘for hire’ transportation industry, and we believe that Florida should be at the forefront of adopting legislation protecting consumers,” said Michael Carlson, PIFF’s executive directior. “While these services can offer a new option and convenience to consumers, it is also critical that lawmakers clarify the insurance requirements for them in state law so that both the drivers working for the services and their passengers are adequately protected.’’
PIFF is a trade association whose charter members – Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Companies, the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies and State Farm Insurance Companies – represent about 45 percent of the auto insurance market in Florida.
While most insurers do not currently provide insurance products that cover TNC-related activities, generally speaking the insurance industry has been actively studying the growth and popularity of TNC business with an eye toward providing products that will serve this emerging market, Carlson said.
Given that ride-sharing services rely on drivers who are using their personal vehicles to transport passengers for hire, PIFF believes it is critical that the Legislature specify in state law
PIFF statement on TNCs
the commercial insurance coverage that TNCs must provide to their drivers, by the TNC, the driver, or a combination of the two. Private passenger auto coverage is not intended to cover commercial activities such as trolling for fares or carrying passengers on a for-hire basis, which is exactly what the TNC activities include.
PIFF members believe that TNC coverage should be the primary insurance coverage for both drivers and their passengers during all phases of TNC activity. Commercial coverage should begin the moment the driver turns on the ride-sharing application and should continue until the driver is no longer seeking paying passengers and the application is turned off, Carlson said.
“Simply put, this technology and its popularity with consumers has grown so quickly that state laws and auto insurance requirements are playing catch-up,” Carlson said. “PIFF supports legislation that will protect TNC consumers and TNC drivers using their personal vehicles by requiring that the commercial activities be insured through the TNC, its driver, or the TNC and its driver. The coverage must be primary, with the initial duty to investigate and defend any claims during TNC activity being the responsiblity of the TNC and its driver – not the driver’s personal auto insurance provider.”
PIFF looks forward to working collaboratively with legislators, TNCs, other auto insurers and consumers as the Legislature works on bills regarding these promising new technologies this session, Carlson said.
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The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida was formed in late 2010 with three charter members – Allstate and Castle Key Insurance Company, the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, and State Farm Insurance Companies – to create a dynamic, efficient, and competitive marketplace for personal insurance products for the benefit of all Floridians. PIFF charter members represent 45 percent of the automobile insurance market and more than 25 percent of the homeowners insurance market.